Covid horror as mystery chronic illness linked with virus: ‘Not in your head’

Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children

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Experts are currently investigating a link between suffering from long Covid, and being diagnosed with a chronic illness known as Myalgic encephalomyelitis. The illness, commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome or ME/CFS, is a long-term condition with the most common symptom being extreme tiredness. Early research suggests that over half of the people diagnosed with long Covid could meet the criteria for being considered chronically fatigued.

When infected with COVID-19, most people recover within a few weeks.

However, in some cases, people have had symptoms of Covid months after the infection has passed. This is known as long Covid.

As Covid cases in the UK and around the world continue to rise, people suffering from ME/CFS have issued dire warnings about the debilitating condition.

Months after Valérie Murray was diagnosed with Covid, she struggled to perform simple tasks like opening the fridge.

She also suffered from a persistent cough and racing heart that made it difficult for her to sleep at night.

At first, various doctors that she consulted dismissed her symptoms as being anxiety-related, saying that “it was all in her head”, Montreal Gazette reports.

However, once all other options were ruled out, a doctor at the Montreal Heart Institute told her: “What I’m about to tell you is important: this is not in your head.

“Your symptoms are caused by an illness called myalgic encephalomyelitis.”

Another patient, Claudine Prud’homme, who has had this illness for years, said that even a simple task like going to the corner shop can leave her feeling as though she has run a marathon.

ME/CFS can strike a patient’s muscular, nervous and immune systems, with its most common symptom being described as a “post-exertional malaise”.

This refers to a worsening of symptoms, or the appearance of new ones after the patient exerts even a minimal amount of physical or mental strain.

Long Covid can cause a variety of different health problems, with a recent study with severe inflammations in the brain.

The new study published in Nature Communications has found that the virus can lead to severe brain inflammation, injuries consistent with reduced blood flow or oxygen to the brain, including neuron damage and death, and even small bleeds in the brain.

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“Surprisingly”, these effects were present in participants that didn’t experience severe disease from Covid.

These findings are considered to be “the first comprehensive assessment of neuropathology” linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection in a primate model.

The researchers explained that findings were consistent with autopsy studies of people who have died due to coronavirus.

One of the lead researchers at the Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tracy Fischer: “Because the subjects didn’t experience significant respiratory symptoms, no one expected them to have the severity of disease that we found in the brain.

“But the findings were distinct and profound, and undeniably a result of the infection.”

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